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Our Pick Of Australia's Best Beaches For A Picnic .....And More

By:
Joanna Hall
 

Summer has truly arrived in Australia, and what better way to escape the chaos and time-pressures of modern life than with a sun-filled picnic at a beautiful beach. Here’s our top choice of places around the country where you can spread out your picnic blankets.

Whitehaven Beach - Whitsunday Island, Queensland

Best Romantic Beach

A perennial “best beach” winner with upmarket travel magazines, this seven kilometre stretch of pure silica white sand is one of Queensland’s most famous tourism icons. With crystal clear water on one side and lush tropical rainforest on the other, Whitehaven has been spared from development to ensure it retains its “get-away-from-it-all” feel. You can’t actually stay on Whitehaven, but it’s possible to do a day trip on a boat tour which will stop at the beach for a few hours. The other options are to hire a “bareboat”, or sail-yourself yacht, and a champagne helicopter tour which drops you at Whitehaven for a couple of hours with a bottle of bubbly and a picnic. 

Cottesloe Beach - Perth, Western Australia

Best Sunset Beach 

No trip to WA is complete without catching one of its awesome west coast sunsets - and Cottesloe is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the ocean. On its own it’s a truly beautiful beach - a colonial era surf club stands sentinel over the beautiful strip of sand and azure blue water, lifesavers practice their drills, Perth’s beautiful people sun themselves, and children build sandcastles on the beach. Parking is free and a train station is 600m from the beach. It has a picnic area, toilets and change rooms, shaded areas and a shop selling drinks and light snacks. Nearby are several restaurants and cafes on the beach front, and a couple of pubs to round off that perfect day. The beach is located on Marine Parade in Cottesloe.

Kurrawa Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland

Best Sophisticated Beach

Just three kilometres south of Surfers Paradise, on Broadbeach Boulevard, this beach village on the Gold Coast is arguably more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than its northern neighbour. The beach itself has two swimming areas patrolled by lifeguards and is much quieter than Surfers, attracting more couples and groups of friends rather than teens. But something else which sets it apart is a range of more than 100 restaurants and cafes, boutique shopping, and a recently revitalised pub when the sun goes down. When you grow tired of the great outdoors, or the kids start nagging you for that ice cream, there are dozens of options at your doorstep. The main beach areas have nice change/shower facilities, and a laid-back pedestrianised shopping mall is right across the road which includes takeaway and convenience stores.

Ningaloo Reef - Exmouth, Western Australia

Best Snorkeling and Diving Beach 

Ningaloo Marine Park is a World Heritage-listed site located approximately half way up the West Australian coastline, near Exmouth, and around 1250 kilometres north of Perth. In its crystal clear waters is the world’s largest fringing reef, a 260 kilometre stretch of coral reef which is home to more than 460 species of fish and 200 species of coral. Among them include turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and the elusive whale shark, with between 300 and 500 visiting each year.  Ningaloo is the only fringing barrier reef on the western side of the continent, and snorkelers can walk directly to the reef from the beach on the north-west cape. 

Snapper Rocks - Gold Coast Queensland

Best Surfing Beach

The Gold Coast is blessed with more than its fair share of gorgeous beaches, but if you love to surf it’s hard to beat this one. Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger and at the southern end of Rainbow Bay. As surfing goes, it’s a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for around two kilometres. The Superbank is now renowned as one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland, which is why it hosts the annual World Surf Leagues’ Quiksilver and Roxy Pros. The quality of the surf has improved considerably since the 1990s, and is now regarded as being of legendary quality, creating one of the longest, hollowest and best waves in the world. If you don’t want to BYO food, relax over lunch, a coffee or a beer at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club; it’s also the best place to view the break.  

East Point Reserve - Darwin, Northern Territory

Best BBQ Beach 

How many places in the world can you fire up a barbie, spot some wallabies and then watch a fantastic sunset all in one day? The answer: very few, except for East Point Reserve in Darwin. At 200 hectares, it’s the largest park in or near the city and it also has safe year-round swimming in salt water Lake Alexander along with extensive walking and cycling paths. It’s also home to Darwin’s Military Museum. With picnic and free BBQ facilities set among a landscaped environment, East Point Reserve has a seemingly endless supply of great spots to enjoy a day out with friends and family - and its sunsets are legendary. East Point Reserve is located on Fannie Bay in Darwin.  

Shelly Beach - Sydney, New South Wales

Best Family Beach

Locals on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which stretch from Manly in the south to Palm Beach in the north, have known and loved this little slice of paradise for decades. While most visitors cram themselves onto world famous Manly Beach, a short and easy 10 minute walk away is Shelly Beach - a protected little bay with beautiful white sand which is perfectly safe for everyone, including kids, to go swimming. The beach has all the facilities you could ask for including changing rooms with showers, water fountains, plentiful if pricey parking on the headland, free gas BBQ’s and decent shade. And if you’re not organised with picnic food, right next to the beach there’s a cool cafe called The Boathouse which offers breakfast and lunch, and takeaway coffee. This beach is located on Bower St in Manly.

 

Breakout Box - Picnic Essentials

* Utensils, plates and cups

* Corkscrew/bottle opener 

* Extra cooler bags with ice or ice packs 

* Sunscreen and insect repellant

* Food storage containers and bags

* Folding chairs

* Cushions and a large picnic blanket

* Napkins, paper towels and Wet Wipes

* Umbrella or tent for the kids

* Mobile phone & map

 

Picnic Tips 

Remember the rules of good food safety when transporting or eating outdoors, and avoid foods which will melt easily or go off quickly.

Take plenty of fresh water with you in case there isn’t a source close by, or it isn’t potable.

Don’t feed the local wildlife - and that includes seagulls.

If you are planning to fire up a portable BBQ, check that it’s okay to do so in the local area.

Dispose of rubbish properly - take it with you or use local bins if provided.

Be thoughtful and remember you are sharing public space with other picnickers!

 

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  1. Posted by on 11th Dec 2018 Verified Customer

    Loved Whitehaven 4 Star Review

    My partner and I went to Whitehaven for a day last year and it was amazing, but extremely hot! I have never seen sand so white, or the ocean so blue.....we had a great day. I think you missed off a few other beaches though, we have to admit we love Bondi (although biased, we live near there), and Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa is also a fave of ours for holidays.

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